Actors who were actually playing themselves
Here are some fine examples of actors you might not have realised were actually playing themselves...
[Related feature: Hollywood stars who started out in soaps]
[Related feature: One hit wonders that faded into obscurity]
Real Navy Seals... Stars of Act Of Valor (Credit: Relativity Media)
Frank Willis – All The President's Men
Frank Willis was the security guard who alerted the police to the break in at the now infamous Watergate office complex in Washington DC, the beginning of a chain of events that would topple president Richard Nixon. Willis played himself in the Oscar-trawling film of the real events, 'All The President's Men', alongside Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the courageous reporters Woodward and Bernstein.
He did the same thing in 'Forrest Gump', when Forrest inadvertently calls security to complain about seeing flashlights in the opposite office building while staying at the Watergate Hotel. Willis's story was a tragic one, however. He quit security after not getting a raise for his actions, and despite some notoriety died penniless of a brain tumour in 2000.
Keith Jones – Black Hawk Down
Ridley Scott's 2001 fictionalised retelling of what happened during the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia was praised for its accuracy, throwing the actors playing the Delta Force into crash commando courses and using Rangers from the actual battles as stunt performers and extras.
Many of the helicopter pilots, including Chief Warrant Officer Keith Jones - who gets some lines in the film - were the actual pilots who flew the MH-6 Little Birds in the battle on October 3 and 4, 1993.
Edward Bunker - Reservoir Dogs
In ‘Reservoir Dogs’, Mr. Blue is always the crook you can never remember… probably because he’s not played a famous actor and has hardly any lines. Well, it was Edward Bunker who donned the suit - a man well qualified for the role because he was actually a real life ex-bank robber.
Smooth criminal... Edward Bunker (Credit: REX)
Bunker also did time for drug dealing, extortion and forgery before turning his back on crime to become a novelist and occasional actor. He later befriended Michael Mann, working as a 'prison technical advisor’ on 'Heat'.